• Football

Hillsborough inquests reopen on eve of 25th anniversary

ESPN staff
March 31, 2014
Football fans across the country will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in April © PA Photos

Inquests into the deaths of 96 football fans who lost their lives in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster have been reopened in Warrington.

The fresh inquests, ordered in the wake of the High Court decision to quash the original verdicts of accidental death in December 2012, begin just two weeks before the 25th anniversary of Liverpool's tragic FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest in 1989.

Liverpool-City clash set to be emotional affair

Liverpool have called on all sports fans to donate scarves for their tribute to the Hillsborough victims © LiverpoolFC.com
  • There will be an added poignancy to Liverpool's crucial Premier League showdown with Manchester City at Anfield on April 13, two days before the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
  • All games that weekend will kick off at seven (or 37) minutes past the hour, a minute after the 1989 game was abandoned, to remember those 96 fans who died.
  • Manager Brendan Rodgers has been full of praise for the Liverpool fans this season - and can expect them to be in full voice once the game kicks off at Anfield.

New evidence revealed by the Hillsborough Independent Panel led to the reordering of the inquests, the results of which had stood for more than two decades.

Lord Justice Goldring, a Court of Appeal judge who is acting as coroner will sit in a purpose-built courtroom, the largest in England and Wales, will house the proceedings, which begin with the swearing in of 11 jurors on Tuesday.

The inquests are expected to take a year, with family members of the victims invited to present "pen portraits" of their loved ones before the court adjourns to allow lawyers to consider new pathological evidence related to the victims' deaths.

Stadium safety, emergency planning, crowd management and the role of the emergency services are expected to be revisited during the inquests, while previously unseen BBC footage of the day's events will also be shown to the court.

"We were there, we experienced it, but what about the families, the mothers and the fathers who were watching it on television?" Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool's manager at the time of the disaster, told the BBC. "What a horrible experience that must have been."

Two further inquiries running alongside the inquests: Operation Resolve, a criminal investigation into events leading up to the disaster and well as the disaster itself, and an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation into allegations of police misconduct in the aftermath of the tragedy.

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